Marshall Reeves – Solo RAAM 2016

Two Years

by Maria Parker on June 19, 2016 Comments Off on Two Years

Today marks two years since Jenny died.  I miss her now more than ever, especially as the memory of her illness fades and the memories of the love and encouragement she gave me over the previous 45 years grows stronger.

I can’t make any more memories with Jenny.  I’m stuck with what I have. No more cooking together, sharing recipes, no more trips to Pottery Barn, no more phone calls of encouragement around the holiday season when I get overwhelmed, no more walks together, no more reading every word of every sign at museums and other places we would travel together.   Jenny will never again sit on my couch with me and talk late into the night about how good God is.  

Where she was in my life,  there will always be a hole.

However, inside that hole now grows a burning desire to find a cure for brain cancer. This fire in my gut requires me to act, to fight to DO something.

Incredibly, I don’t have to  fight alone.

Two men, Rob Decou and Marshall Reeves have, for the last five days, been racing across the country on bicycles with  little or no sleep, climbing steep mountains, crossing burning deserts, and now fighting stiff, hot Kansas winds so that others may have hope.  They and their crews have joined with me to raise funds for research for brain cancer.

Marshall Reeves and Rob DeCou run into each other on day two of the course.

Marshall Reeves and Rob DeCou run into each other on day two of the course.

I invite you to join us.  We can never win this battle alone. Simply put, we must have money for research.  These next 5 days, as you watch these two incredible warriors fight their exhaustion, sunburn, saddle sores, sore muscles and joints, numb hands and feet, and continue pedaling again and again, please give.  As you think of their crews, who sacrifice vacation time, decent food, sleep and time with their own loved ones so that they can care for and protect these cyclists, make a donation.   

Each rider has a goal of $20,000 for brain cancer research. We are not even close to halfway there.  Please help bring us to the finish line, so that others may live.  Thank you.

Donate here:



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Maria ParkerTwo Years

June 18th, 2016: Jovial

by Joe Mulligan on June 18, 2016 Comments Off on June 18th, 2016: Jovial

Marshall rolled into Durango at close to 1 AM, After sleeping for a few hours, he conquered Wolf Creek Pass. He climbed 4000 ft in 7 miles.


The media team was there, awed by the beauty of the Rockies and the miles of switchbacks and steep grades. In a car, the beauty is what we noticed. Outside the car, however, even running half of a mile with the limited oxygen was exhausting. I watched Marshall climb for seven miles, without stopping.

We watched him pedal up the Rockies with passion in his feet and humor on his mind.

I know right! Humor? How can someone be humorous as they pedal up an actual mountain.

One of the things I like about Marshall is his love of puns. Puns are his thing. Knee-slapping, hilarious plays on words are in his ballpark, right next to ultra-cycling and piloting.

So, we came up with puns and wrote them down on sheets of paper. We would hold them up as Marshall would ride by, amusing him and sometimes disappointing him.



-Are you wheelie wheelie tired?

-Wolf Creek Pass is a vicious cycle

As you can see, they aren’t great, but they gave him something to think about other than the climb.BC_RAAM_2016_06_18_WolfCreek-6-1

When we ran out of puns, we sang. Granted, our voices weren’t great either, but what we didn’t have in skill we made up for in passion.

So we ran alongside him and sang “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough” and “Eye of the Tiger.” He suggested we get some singing lessons, but the best part: he sang back.

I ran alongside him hearing him sing James Taylor as if he wasn’t even tired. He has a great voice and knows more about modern bands than I, a sixteen-year-old do.

Then he gave me some homework to do about wheel rotation and distance, which I raced to solve. For instance, I calculated that it takes him 2436 rotations to cover a mile on 27-inch wheels.

It truly amazes me. Marshall can compete in the hardest bike race in the world, support a great cause, and make me laugh all at the same time. It is about a reaction to difficulty. When you see someone take on a difficult task and retain a smile and a sense of humor, it inspires you.


It reminds me of Mom. She wasn’t gifted in puns or an ultra-cyclist, but somehow, when diagnosed with brain cancer, she walked through it with a smile on her face. She wasn’t angry, she just stayed her happy, kind, beautiful self. She cooked when she could, and still invited people over for coffee to catch up. I found myself being comforted by her, even when it was her illness that I sought comfort for.

When you donate, it is about giving hope. Every dollar goes to men and women who are trying to cure this disease. They stood up and decided that something ought to be changed. Help them give hope to thousands of people who have been diagnosed with brain cancer. Donate here.   

1000 miles behind you Marshall

Joe Mulligan

P.S. I am sure the puns will get punnier…

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Joe MulliganJune 18th, 2016: Jovial

June 17, 2016: Commitment

by Joe Mulligan on June 17, 2016 Comments Off on June 17, 2016: Commitment

Marshall needs to reach Durango Colorado by 6 AM Eastern Time tomorrow.  In order to do that, he must bike another 150 miles of climbs, dusty roads, and relentless traffic.


We drove through Monument Valley to catch up with Marshall’s crew and see what they thought about the trek ahead. Upon arriving, we were greeted with tired excitement.

“How was last night?” was the question on the media team’s lips as Adam’s long wavy blonde hair emerged from the door of the RV.

Marshall has kept to his schedule, perfectly. Making sure he rides at the right speed, sleeps at the right times and saves his energy for the harder, second half of RAAM.


“He slept last night when he was supposed to, about three and a half hours” Jacob exclaimed, who had just arrived in the follow vehicle.

“So he is right on schedule?” Maria asked. “Right on schedule, he knows the average speed he needs to get to Durango, and he knows the speed he has been averaging so far,” Jacob replied.

“I feel privileged that, if I want to do something then I get my mind behind it and do it… I know if I say it I will do it.” Marshall Reeves


He has strategized and executed… the question is how will it pay off in the second half?

Stay strong Marshall

Joe Mulligan

Rob and Marshall are racing to cure brain cancer. Help us by donating here. Every single penny goes to research. Thank you.

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Joe MulliganJune 17, 2016: Commitment

June 16, 2016: Engine

by Joe Mulligan on June 16, 2016 Comments Off on June 16, 2016: Engine

We drove parallel to Marshall. Our engine matching the speed of his legs. We all gave a collective cheer, excited by the progress he has made since we last saw him and impressed by his endurance. 

Brian’s camera snapped along with the hum of the bumpy road. “Good Morning,” he said, clearly in good spirits. “How are y’all doing?” Still keeping pace at about 15 miles per hour, his smile appeared underneath the helmet and the white sunscreen on his cheeks.


He had a calm look about him as if he was in his element. Pedaling, strong and steady, while he leaned down on his matte black handlebars. You could clearly see “3000 Miles to a Cure” written in light blue on his back, contrasting well with the mustard yellow jersey.

He is climbing up through the Coconino Forest which is breathtaking, but not an easy climb. Racing toward Flagstaff Arizona.

“Great, how are you feeling?” Maria asked. “Oh, you know, another day, another climb,” Marshall said with another big smile, his bike in an almost perfectly straight line along the side of the road.

Up ahead we saw his crew parked on the side of the road ready to assist. We sped off and parked directly behind his son Jesse, and another crew member Jacob.


Jacob began speaking into his microphone to Marshall as he came up the road. They readied his drink and held it out at arm’s length.

He zoomed past, saying “Thank you sir” to Jesse and skillfully grabbing the bottle.

We passed him a few more times over the course of the next 20 miles, taking pictures where we could and helping the crew. Each time we drove past him, he had that same look on his face. He looked free. He was not confined to a cockpit looking at things from miles above. He was simply smelling the pines and feeling the fresh Arizona air on his face.


3000 Miles to a Cure is about freedom. It is about freedom from the hopelessness of brain cancer. It is about helping the diagnosed and their families, by providing them something to do against an aggressive and relentless enemy.

Fight with us. Help the thousands of people that are hopeless in the face of brain cancer. Donate here today.

Push on Marshall

Joe Mulligan

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Joe MulliganJune 16, 2016: Engine

In Your Corner

by Maria Parker on June 16, 2016 Comments Off on In Your Corner

This morning the media team breakfasted in Blythe, CA after a short night’s sleep in a Comfort Suites hotel. We sipped our coffee and strategized about how to tell the story of our racers, Marshall Reeves and Rob Decou as they rode through the desert.

A middle aged man approached us asking about our 3000 Mile to a Cure T-shirts. In a quaking voice he told us the story of his best friend, a teacher,who’d just had his third surgery to remove a brain tumor.  As he showed us cell phone pictures of the man and his young family, grief and frustration emanated from him.

The desire to do something, to take any action, to save a loved one is so familiar.   Mostly all we can do is sit by and watch them slide away from us – first surgery, then radiation and chemo, more surgery, more doctor’s visits, more medicine.   We hope, we support, we love, we pray, but these things seem so quiet. At times there is is a desire to hack at and punch and tear the horrible, evil cancer apart, screaming a warrior’s cry all the while.

Race Across America is a tough, physical battle. Rob and Marshall fight for us. They FIGHT. They fight the mountains, the heat, the nausea the exhaustion.. They’re on our team, doing what we cannot, fighting cancer with all the physicality they have. They will not stop.

Cancer sufferers and your families,  we’re in your corner.  We’re with you.  Hang in there.  BC_RAAM_2016_06_15-3

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Maria ParkerIn Your Corner

June 15th, 2016: Heat

by Joe Mulligan on June 15, 2016 Comments Off on June 15th, 2016: Heat

I stood leaning on the following car, watching Marshall’s crew describe the drink system. The previous driver was tapping the drink instruction sheet as a science teacher might. The next two follow vehicle workers nodded their heads in understanding.

I walked over to the RV with Marshall’s son and crew member, Jesse. I asked Jesse how he felt Rob was doing. “His mind-over-matter ability is crazy. He is definitely in minor pain, but he just keeps going. To the point that he will ride until he hurts himself if he isn’t stopped. But you also don’t want to interrupt his flow or anything.”BC_RAAM_2016_06_15-23

I could clearly see the white sunscreen outlining Marshall’s cheekbones as he began to pedal once more. He had a glint in his eye, enjoying the break, in the midst of the cacti-filled fields and heat of Northern Arizona.

Every road looks the same: miles and Miles of hot, bumpy pavement. The only other thing you see is sand covered 18-wheelers and old trucks. The sandy mountains outline the even sandier valleys and there are rhythmic gusts of hot wind that almost increase the temperature, but provide relief at the same time. Water is necessary and ice is appreciated, as we all seem to bake like potatoes in the heat.BC_RAAM_2016_06_15-8

The constant struggle against the heat and the sand reminds me of Mom. Every day, having to see her fade as she fought was a challenge. It hurt to see her change. The same steady fight against the desert raged in Mom’s brain.

In every pedal stroke, there is resolve. We will beat brain cancer. Marshall is acting on this resolve. You can too, by donating here. Every penny goes to research.


Thank you all

Stay steady Marshall.  

Joe Mulligan

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Joe MulliganJune 15th, 2016: Heat

June 14, 2016: Step by Step

by Joe Mulligan on June 14, 2016 Comments Off on June 14, 2016: Step by Step

This morning started with a delicious waffle and a warm cup of coffee. The team met, and we talked about our unique skills and how doing RAAM for 3000 Miles to a cure might bring hope. It gave me confidence and even comforted me to see a group of people so rallied behind 3000 Miles to a Cure.

The media team asked Marshall a few questions about the race. When asked about the start he said, “I don’t like attention; I don’t like all the hoopla at the start. I would rather just be started somewhere and just go . . . There is never a “I shouldn’t do this” because you’re gonna. Once you get to that point, it is almost a relief,”BC_RAAM_2016_06_13-2

His toughness was heard in his words. Marshall is a fighter. He is fighting a different fight than my mom was, but I can see the same determination and grit. He reminds me of the diesel truck my dad had when I was a kid. I can almost see him crossing the finish line in Annapolis. I am in awe of Marshall’s strength and am really interested to see how it will manifest itself as he supports 3000 Miles to a Cure through RAAM.


But honestly, I am a little scared. I have a feeling the new time zones and car-confinement are going to be hard. I really do love my fellow passengers though, and I know they are going to get me through it. However I am constantly reminded of my mother’s words.

“God is an amazing God, you just gotta have faith.”
So here I go, RAAM begins tomorrow and I am going to be ready. We have the people, we have the equipment, and now we have the excitement. Annapolis here we come!

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Joe MulliganJune 14, 2016: Step by Step

June 14, 2016: Soarin’

by Joe Mulligan on June 14, 2016 Comments Off on June 14, 2016: Soarin’

Marshall Reeves is a pilot when he isn’t competing in ultra-cycling events. We sat together, 100 feet from the starting line discussing airplane types and the advantages of being a pilot. He usually flies to Europe and gets to pick his hours, because he has been a pilot for 26 years. As we chatted, it was almost like RAAM didn’t exist, but you could see his leg restlessly pulsing, despite his veteran coolness.


As he looked over his bike for the third time, I could tell he was thinking about the challenge ahead. His crew was a very different kind of nervous. They were talking and socializing, clearly trying to occupy their minds with something other than bike mechanics and checkpoints. We bought some delicious pizza and had some good conversation around the well-decaled follow car.

There was grease on Adam, the bike mechanic’s, hand as he sat there running over the plan with his crew buddies and looking for tools in the back of the RV. Jacob sat cross-legged on the ground tinkering with Marshall’s helmet.

As the starting time approached, hundreds of people stood mingled in with the racers encouraging them and giving them friendly pats on the back. The announcer was steadily counting down from 5 every minute sending each racer across the start line. Marshall was just sitting in the shade and rigging up his ear buds so he could listen to James Taylor.  

Twenty minutes later, he sat on his bike under the inflatable Race Across America start line, dancing to the upbeat music that was playing in the background. He had a big smile on his face and his fingers drummed impatiently on the handlebars.


Once started, he was all business. I got to see him 3 or 4 times over the next 50 miles. Each time he passed, I could see the resolve in his face. His crew simply handed him water bottles and told him good luck as he passed by. The last time I saw him, he was riding 40 miles per hour down a long descent, weaving around turns and bracing against the wind. His bike tires were a blur and his face was tight with concentration.


I can’t belive it has actually started. I feel the mix of excitement and anxiety as the race has only just begun. RAAM is about endurance and Marshall is ready to ride.
Here we go, 100 miles out of the way, and we are just getting started.

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Joe MulliganJune 14, 2016: Soarin’

June 12, 2016: Introduction and Preparation

by Joe Mulligan on June 13, 2016 Comments Off on June 12, 2016: Introduction and Preparation


Heroes are people who have fear, but overcome that fear and use it as fuel. What makes heroes even more special is their ability to instill courage in others around them. The best hero is one who leads with confidence and humility and inspires those traits in the people around them.

Marshall Reeves and Rob DeCou are the heroes of 3000 Miles to a Cure. By attempting RAAM they show us what it means to be courageous leaders and selflessly support 3000 Miles to a Cure.

I am here because my mother, Jenny Mulligan, died of brain cancer almost exactly 2 years ago. I have been given the opportunity to write about this event from my perspective. In doing so, I honor my mother’s memory and aid the fight against brain cancer. I will be following Marshall Reeves as he competes one of the most challenging ultra-cycling events in the world.

Marshall stands at slightly under 6 feet and sports a gray 5 o’clock shadow. He has an aura of intelligence and leadership around him. He looks like a man who has been hardened by battle. His smile is a fatherly one, often coming after a punny joke or witty retort. His strong calves and quads stand out on his muscled figure. His crew is a group of young men with great sense of humor and great dedication to the cause of helping Marshall to finish. They share a tight, family like bond, though they haven’t known each other for long. They seem to be excited to overcome the challenge alongside Marshall.


Today I helped to prepare Rob and Marshall’s vehicles by applying their RAAM numbers and  3000 Miles to a Cure decals. Marshall has attempted RAAM twice previously, and he is clearly committed to getting to the finish line this year. His crew of six shares his commitment and plans to do whatever they can to get him to Annapolis safely.


In this morning’s meeting, we gathered both teams together and discussed how RAAM and the fight against brain cancer are intertwined. RAAM presents an opportunity to combat the hopelessness of brain cancer. Some tears flowed, as my Aunt Maria talked about her personal experience with brain cancer. Jenny Mulligan, her sister and my mother, was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2012 and died a year and a half later.

It was during this story that I began to realize how personal RAAM was, not just for me, but also for others in the room. Though some had relatives that suffered the same fate as my mother, I realized it was more than just brain cancer, it was hardship of any kind. Race Across America represents a fight against the odds, it represents a fight against the very earth beneath your tires and feet. In life, we are often given difficult situations that we can do little about, but it is during these times that we learn the most and grow the most.

I am looking forward to being inspired by Rob and Marshall as they begin this 3000 mile journey.  BC_RAAM_2016_06_12_Watermarked-6

Joe Mulligan is the 16-year-old son of Jenny Mulligan, whose story is at the heart of 3000 Miles to a Cure. Joe is following Marshall Reeves in his 2016 Solo Race Across America for brain cancer research. He will be sharing Marshall’s stories along the way, honoring the memory of his mother and working to change the future for those diagnosed with brain cancer.

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Joe MulliganJune 12, 2016: Introduction and Preparation


by Marshall Reeves on June 9, 2016 Comments Off on Perspective

With RAAM just over a week away, we thought things were going pretty well. The team had coalesced, all the gear had been procured, travel plans made, and excitement was building. Lesson number one, if things are too good to be true, it’s because they are too good to be true. Over the weekend, Jim Merchant, our RN/LMT was starting his journey west in the support vehicle with bikes and all the gear. Somewhere near El Paso, he was involved in a horrific rollover accident. He wound up in the hospital ICU with serious injuries, and the car and gear destroyed. He has since left the ICU, but is still in the hospital. I am on my way west now with Ross Parker and Adam Darby. We will try to salvage what we can from the car, and check on Jim. The gang at Infinity Bike Shop worked feverishly to make sure we had all the gear and bikes we needed, just in case. Thank you Lukas, Geoff, and Frank! But before we can get to El Paso, we must wait at the Mercedes dealership in Baton Rouge to have our Sprinter van fixed. Did I mention things had been going really well? Here is where perspective comes in. We are preparing for what is arguably the hardest bicycle race on the planet, but it is for a fantastic cause, “3000 Miles to a Cure”, a charity working to find a cure for brain cancer. Yes Jim had an accident, yes our support car is destroyed, and yes we are busted flat in Baton Rough (waiting for a train), but we will all live to talk about it. Those afflicted with brain cancer do not have that luxury, unless we find a cure. Please consider helping this great cause with a donation of any size. Fate will have to try a lot harder to keep us from that finish line in Annapolis, and to the finish line in the war on brain cancer!

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Marshall ReevesPerspective